Hi friends! Lots to catch up since our last post! After many weeks of rain in April, we have designed, built, put up and down our full-scale mockup. Some on Morrisette to test if the 18’ screens would stand safely, and finally on site. As always mock-ups are the best tool for making decisions, so as we were putting up the screens, we made some changes to the design as we saw how the space shaped out. Also, thank you Andrew, Steve and Mass Timber team for helping us raise the 18′x18′ Screens!
Luckily the mock-up was ready by the time Pig Roast came around the corner, and it helped us study how people inhabited the space. Not only as a large crowd but also when the Horseshoe Farm Fellows had one of their weekly meetings in the courtyard.
We have also had many pin ups and meetings in the last 2 months. We had a chance to meet with Zane Morgan and Cassandra Kellogg twice! They are not only super generous with their time, but also incredibly helpful when talking to us through some of the details we have been working through. We also had a visit from David Hinson, whose excitement about the project energized us to keep pushing forward! As well as a long, but incredibly helpful call with David Hill, in which we learned some more key information about tree choosing, and soil conditions of our site.
Additionally, in the last two weeks, we have spoken to Joe many times, in order to work through some of the structural questions of the walkway and screens. We also visited Jim Turnipseed to update him on the newest design proposal. We are incredibly thankful for Jim’s generosity with material donations and for letting us use his shop when the time comes to fabricate the screens!
Rural Studio celebrated its 25th anniversary last weekend during the annual Pig Roast festivities. With nearly 300 visitors from around the world, the special event tripled the town’s population! The 100-mile journey led visitors to projects from Moundville, Greensboro, Faunsdale, and Newbern.
The day began with hot biscuits and coffee as visitors admired the beautiful watercolors on display from Dick Hudgens’ class of 3rd-year students. The tour of projects began with a long drive up to Moundville Archaeological Park to see the design and mockup from the four 5th-year students who are building a new pavilion for the park, which will be tucked in the woods along the edge of the campground near the ancient Native American mounds. Next the caravan led visitors to Greensboro to see the remarkable work from two 5th-year “leftover” teams: the mockup of Project Horseshoe Farm’s new courtyard behind their headquarters on Main Street in the historic Greensboro Hotel and the Horseshoe Homes project, a new home for three women on South Street. Then Rural Studio’s farm manager, Eric Ball, and adjunct professor, Elena Barthel, took visitors on a magical tour of the Rural Studio Farm and Greenhouse. Visitors enjoyed a tasty lunch prepared by Chef Cat, which included fresh food from the farm.
After lunch everyone learned about the research from the team of 5th-year students working on the Mass Timber Breathing Wall Research Project. Next the caravan headed south to Faunsdale to see the recently completed 5th-year project, the Faunsdale Community Center, then headed back north towards Newbern for a presentation at 20Kv23 Anna’s Home by one of the current 5th-year teams. The parade to Newbern led visitors back to Chantilly for a walking tour to the 3rd-year project, a home for Mrs. Patrick. The final student project on the tour was 20Kv22, from one of our 5th-year “leftover” teams. The tour ended with a gorgeous display of built chairs by Steve Long’s woodshop class and chair drawings from Elena Barthel’s 5th-year drawing class. Dinner included fried catfish, from Mustang Oil, and BBQ cooked by our 3rd-year students. Accompanying dinner was music from the Alabama Blues Project Advanced Band. Special thanks to Mac Spencer for firing a great shower of Whiffle Dust out of a cannon over the amphitheater.
The evening ceremony began with opening remarks from Newbern’s Mayor, Woody Stokes, followed by the Head of Auburn’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, Christian Dagg. A special thanks to our honored guests Jackie Mockbee, Linda Ruth, Kyle Platt, Thelma Brown, Louise Scott, Gwen Melton, Barbara Williams, and Suzanne and Robert McKee. One of the greatest honors of the day was having families of both of Rural Studio’s founders Sambo Mockbee and D.K. Ruth part of the special 25th anniversary day.
The valediction speech was from surprise guests and superstars Billie Tsien and Tod Williams from Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York, NY. The night ended with a spectacular display of fireworks and music from Debbie Bonds with Radiator Rick and featuring Little Jimmy Reed that had us dancing into the night.
We were proud to see the Newbern Library open for the occasion with a book and t-shirt sale to help fundraise for the library. Newbern’s newest business, Sweetbriar Coffee, was a welcomed treat, keeping us fueled with delicious teas and coffee. The Newbern Mercantile stayed busy with visitors and, as usual, helped to support us. Thanks to all of our neighbors and supporters for welcoming everyone.
And finally, thanks to all of the generous Pig Roast sponsors: Alabama Power, JAS Design, Aercon Technologies, Michael Harrow Realty, Johnston-Torbert House, Holmestead Company, Price Drywall, Cedar Ridge Excavating, Citizens Bank, City Furniture, Dozier Hardware, Fuller Supermarket, Hotel & Restaurant Supply, Newbern Mercantile, Peoples Bank of Greensboro, Piggly Wiggly, The Partridge Berry, the Smelley Family, Windham Motor Co., and Wood Fruittcher.
We want to thank the continued support of the college, our community, and our donors; without them none of this would be possible.
We’re feeling all the feels over here in Newbern this week. It’s Pig Roast week!!! Come out THIS SATURDAY and help us celebrate 25 YEARS IN HALE!!! We’re incredibly proud and truly honored to still be here working with this extraordinary community. Thanks to Sambo Mockbee and D.K. Ruth for having the vision to make this happen and Andrew Freear for continuing to be our champion. Our Rural Studio family is larger and stronger than ever. #WarEagle
The week after the break was a time for the team to get back together, finalize some decisions and get on site. We have began to engage more closely with the site, marking out the location of the house, where the driveway goes and presenting these suggestions to our client. With their blessing, we were able to move forward setting up a power pole and ordering materials to prepare the site for construction. We hope to be excavating, pouring footers and setting blocks in the coming weeks.
Our site has a beautiful view down a hill and across the road to a pasture, where a curious cow likes to come investigate the bobcat.